Of course dresses are the symbol of femininity, but did you know you can express much more than that with your vintage dress? If you take a look at the various models vintage and retro dresses of the past century, you will understand what I mean. Sometimes dresses were long and sound, sometimes they were extremely short and ultra-exposed. In times of crisis, for example just before and during both world wars, dresses suddenly changed from sound to exposed. Not because women wanted to look much challenging, but because fabric was rationed and, thus, scarce. Clothing industry was only interested in the millions of soldiers that had to go to the front.
Symbolic and emancipation of the vintage dress
So, if you look at a vintage dress , you actually look at a piece of history. The various models of vintage dresses also express the emancipation of the woman. In the twenties a group of Bohemians suddenly determined fashion. Women no longer stayed at home with children on their skirts, and left home to join men’s culture in clubs and parties.
If you take a look at these dresses today, they weren’t shocking at all, on the contrary, but in those days they were considered rather challenging. Straight dresses, lots of fringes and beads and women wore head coverings with beads and smoked, which was rather exceptional in those days.
Sex symbol never in long pants
In the beginning of the 50s, the first TVs were sold in the Netherlands and Hollywood enters the Dutch living rooms. We only got our black-and-white TV with three channels by the end of the sixties, but there are always trendsetters, people who immediately discover novelties and want to try them out. As these novelties cost a lot of money, it isn’t always wise to be the cock of the walk. Actually, the first feminine mega stars weren’t trendsetters at all, as they were all portrayed in a dress, preferably with bare legs and bust.
Designers chose the safe, feminine side and made sure the male part of the population gaped at the pin-ups and the feminine part of the population had to do her utmost to look just as sexy as the famous stars. In those days corsets, diets, curling tongs, tissues and lipstick were required to get the same kissing lips as Marilyn Monroe, the same giant cup as Brigitte Bardot and the same wasp waist as Gina Lollobrigida.
Long pants symbol of emancipation
In the end women noticed they could better use all the energy they had put in their looks to break the glass ceiling. As women wanted to be equal to men on the labour market, their looks became increasingly masculine and long pants, and especially jeans, became indispensable in a women’s wardrobe. Rather strange, as denim doesn’t have a good fit, especially if your jeans is new. Besides, jeans aren’t practical at all if you for example all of a sudden have to go to the toilet.
Although men can use the very first tree, women still can’t pee standing up. Therefore a dress or skirt is extremely practical. In Bolivia women simply squat above a pit if they have to pee and nobody takes offence. Talking about the advances of emancipation!! Emancipated or not, most women finally get pregnant. And why would you wear such deformed maternity pants if you feel much more comfortable in a loose-fitting dress? Of course you are proud of your belly, but if you don’t have a waist your pants simply won’t fit. A plea for maternity dresses! Very practical afterwards as well, as your normal trousers won’t fit the first few months!